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The Ab Doctor – by Dale Andrew

Recently, I was asked to be the resident professional for an upcoming book on the subject of “How to Get Abs.” In fitness circles, it seems that most people are chasing abs or at the very least interested in learning how to get them. Below is a copy of my interview: Q1: How are the ab muscles different from other muscles in the body? A1: The Rectus Abdominus (“six-pack”) is actually broken up into several smaller, beaded sub-sections instead of being one long, continuous muscle (like the biceps for example). It’s interesting (and important) to note that anatomy dictates function.

Q2: How does this structure affect their training? A2: While the RA is capable of producing trunk flexion (traditional sit-up or crunch), the underlying anatomy suggests that this function has been overemphasized by the fitness industry for decades. The RA resists trunk flexion, and is also involved in the promoting and transmitting of “hoop” stresses and forces generated by the obliques.  Finally, the RA promotes posterior pelvic tilt and helps control pelvic alignment. Training should reflect function. Understanding function requires an understanding of the anatomy. Incorporating exercises that optimize pelvic alignment and train your body to stabilize the lumbar spine will help you to get the most out of your abdominal training. You should look and move great!

Q3: Why is abdominal fat so difficult to lose? A3: Whether crunches target your abs is really not the issue – it’s whether they make your abs visible. Seeing your abs is a matter of lowering your body fat to 10% or lower. While nobody seems to be talking about it, the key to everything is hormones! Most need to adjust the way they eat and train to optimize their hormone balance (testosterone, GH, estrogen, leptin, gherelin, insulin and cortisol), naturally.

Science aside, most people that say they have a hard time losing belly fat just aren’t being truthful with themselves. Are you in the gym training hard? Are you eating a clean diet? Are you committed to doing both things consistently for as long as it takes? Most people want to see their abs, but there are only 3 reasons why most fail: misinformation, they are lazy, or they really don’t care. If you care and are willing to work, you can learn and live the information you need to create the body you want. I know I can help.

Q4. Your top diet tips for belly friendly foods. A4: Most focus on the idea of good foods and bad foods, but ultimately it is timing and the calories you eat that matter. Intermittent fasting is one of my go-to strategies for creating an optimal hormonal environment that will produce even greater results. Without getting overly complicated, fast for sixteen hours, and consume all your food within any eight-hour window you want.

Q5. How long should one fast? A5: Intermittent Fasting is one simply nutritional strategy. I don’t believe that there is only one, absolute diet for everyone to follow now and forever. The best diet is the one that is best for YOU and your dietary preferences. Most people want to fit in a little box: vegan, paleo, low carb, intermittent fasting, etc. I would ask you to consider that most diets have a lot in common: control appetite, improve food quality, increase nutritional awareness, and promote exercise!

Intermittent Fasting is one nutritional strategy, but while it works for me and some clients, it is not the only strategy I use, personally or as a coach. When it comes to fasting, more is not necessarily better. Remember, this is short, intermittent, and in the case of a 24 hour trial fast, it may only be a one-time thing. It will quite likely impress on you the difference between physical and psychological hunger, though.


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